Editing Midtones with Affinity Photo

While editing Highlights and Shadows is very straightforward with Affinity Photo with the dedicated panel provided, it’s not as intuitive to edit midtones. I’m not sure why the Highlights & Shadows panel doesn’t include a midtones (and it should be renamed to Tone or something similar), but there’s surely a good reason. Maybe it’s seldom used?

In any case, you can edit midtones with Affinity Photo. While you can tweak the corresponding area in the tone curve in the Curves panel, if you want to target midtones specifically, there’s a more accurate way. Let’s see how:

  1. go to Selection > Tonal Range > midtones
  2. create a Curves adjustment layer
  3. deselect

And that’s it, you’re now ready to adjust the midtones. Although we have used Brightness/Contrast instead of Curves, the latter will give us more flexibility to adjust the entire midtones tone range.

One thing to keep in mind that this is an intermediate tone range between highlights and shadows, so keep your changes subtle. A small increment will make a very noticeable difference. If you go too far, you’ll start noticing some clipping, either in the highlights or the shadows, as can be seen below.

I guess softwares like On1 Photo Raw with a dedicated slider for midtones have some way to compensate this, but since it’s not native in Affinity Photo, we have to either keep it subtle, which is usually for the best in photography, or, what I usually do, hide the areas where we don’t want to edit midtones to avoid clipping. For example, I brushed out all the sky here and that solves the clipped highlights.


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